Basics of using Pages on the Mac

Last modified
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hello everyone. As most Mac users know, Pages is the word processor supplied by Apple. It is powerful, quick, but often mysterious and shrouded in myth and legend. I'm going to try to dispel some of that fear by giving you all tutorials on how to use features of pages, and sometimes comparing them to features of Windows, for those who are just starting out.


Please remember that, as I go through these tutorials, that I'll be using the "return" key word instead of "enter" which is common in Windows. Return is the name of the key in Mac and Linux circles.

looking around

First, I'll focus on what happens when a user opens pages, who has installed it and looked around for a bit, and just gave up a little, thinking that the interface is too cluttered to be useful. When you open Pages, you'll be placed in the Open dialog box. You'll be placed within your iCloud file list, and you can use your up and down arrow keys through these. If you wish to delete one, press command+delete. If you want to open one, just press return on the one you want. If you want to create a new document, press command+N.

When you create a new document, you'll first need to choose a template for it. You can set a default template, but we'll focus on that later. For now, know that the template chooser is a grid. You can use your arrow keys to go through them, and choose one with the return key. When you're ready, arrow to the "blank" template and press return.

getting an inkling

When you first create a new, blank document, you'll be placed in the box in which you'll be typing. The first things you'll hear are "Pages. Untitled window, Body, edit text." This means that you are in Pages, in a window called untitled, and are in the body text field in the document.

The mechanics of writing

In Pages, you can write in text fields normally, as you do in mail, Safari, Messages, and text edit. The Mac will correct many misspellings you make, and if it can't, arrowing over the word will show a list of suggested words. Navigate this list with the right and left arrow keys, and choose one with the return key. Don't worry, and new line will not be put into your document when the suggestions popup is shown.

wrapping up

In this guide, I showed an overview of opening, deleting, and creating documents in the open dialog. I also showed basic text entry within the body of a document. I hope this guide has been helpful, and if anyone has a comment or suggestion, just add your feedback in the comments section.


The article on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information.



Submitted by Pa. Joe on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thanks, any help at all with pages is greatly appreciated.

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Thursday, March 10, 2016

How does one get out of the corrections popup effectively? This is still something I struggle with - I just kind of jab keys until it goes away. Escape doesn't seem to work, as I think it usually then enters whatever suggested correction I was on.

Submitted by Carlos Taylor on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Perhaps this will help with spelling errors and suggestions. You can read more at

Use automatic spelling correction
When VoiceOver announces a misspelled word, do one of the following:

To let the word be corrected automatically, keep typing.

If the spell checker can’t correct the word, it underlines it in red. You can check the document to manually correct these misspellings.

To choose a suggested correction, press the Down Arrow key, then press the Left Arrow or Right Arrow key until you hear the suggestion you want to use. Then press Return.

To exit the suggestions without choosing one, press Escape or the Up Arrow key.

To revert to the original spelling of a word that was automatically corrected, navigate to the word, position the insertion point just after the word, press the Down Arrow key to move to the original spelling, then press the Space bar to select it.

If you don’t want spelling to be corrected automatically, choose Edit > Spelling and Grammar, then deselect the Correct Spelling Automatically command (if it’s available).

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thanks for sharing that. I feel like Escape still selects the correction for me, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway I'll try up arrow and see if that works. It makes sense, as I think the way I get stuck in correction popups is when I'm reading by line and arrow down, and my cursor happens to be on a misspelled word - so when I hit down again, it must put me in the popup. This is useful information, and I hope it will be helpful - thanks!

Submitted by Esther on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Just wanted to mention that for people who want an in depth guide to using Pages with VoiceOver, Jonathan Mosen made a recent posting to the macvisionaries mailing list about the availability of a new eBook by Anne and Archie Robinson called "My Mac Pages". Price is $35, and you can purchase it via PayPal from this web page, which gives additional information about the book:

For a different view of the kind of material that gets covered, you can also read the review that Bryan Jones posted on AppleVis of the Skype course he took with Anne and Archie, and the list of covered topics:…

Hope this helps.

Submitted by Apple Khmer on Friday, March 11, 2016

I like the app. I just don't like how it won't let me save my work to a specific folder. It will only let me save to Documents folder, but not in any of the subfolders in Documents.

Submitted by Andy B. on Friday, March 11, 2016

I never plan on using Pages. The workflow is not very user friendly. Whoever thought to force users to select some random block of text to create a style should rethink their process. Making someone create a textbox and put text inside just to vertically center a title page makes things more complicated then necessary. Not having the ability of importing and exporting styles is a huge showstopper. My final problem with Pages right now is the inability to natively manage references/citations. Word has a reference/citation manager, why doesn't Pages have one? Instead, Apple requires the use of 3rd party apps to manage references, and 100% of them are not usable with VO. Sorry for the rant, but Pages was doomed from the start. Besides, it is not "industry standard"

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Well done! I just had a brief read of this guide and it looks great. I haven't done much with Pages except for reading some documents which I have received as attachments. When I have more time I'm going to go through this guide and have a more in-depth look at Pages, and I'm also going to point my sister here. She is a VoiceOver user and has been learning to use her MacBook as well. Yay Apple for enhancing the accessibility of their product line!

Submitted by Catherine on Friday, March 25, 2016

Looking for more info on how to organize the many pages files that I have created and are located in documents along with several number files. I can not find where to create folders for either pages or numbers. I am using pages as a word doc on my mac air. Thanks

Submitted by Angel. Arias (not verified) on Friday, March 25, 2016

In reply to by Pa. Joe

i was wondering if there is a game on the mack where i could be a wizard to save the world from monsters that is accessible with VoiceOver.
Is there a wizard game on the mack that is accessible with VoiceOver? This is my frist time posting to applevis im sorry if there is anny miss speelings.

Submitted by Sameh Sawalha on Sunday, July 3, 2016

Where can I find the rest of these lessons.
any help would be greatly appreciated.

Submitted by Kate on Saturday, March 3, 2018

Club AppleVis Member

Apologies for writing to an old post, I hope someone sees this. I'm struggling with pages on my MacBook Pro. The arrow keys don't seem to take me where I expect them too. They just seem to move between body, header and footer, but not within the body. If I use shift-vo-down to enter the field, it comes out again every time I arrow. How do I navigate within the document please, and edit?

I have also tried using pages on my iPad, with a remote keyboard, and am having the same problems.


Submitted by Sameh Sawalha on Sunday, March 4, 2018

The new versions of Pages have this new design. If you go the first of the document, you will be transferred to the heather. If you go to the end of the document, you will be transferred to the footer.
This is what I noticed recently, so you don't have any problem.

Submitted by Dave Nason on Sunday, March 4, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi @Kate. I’ve been using Pages recently and found this a bit annoying too, but have managed it. I find that if I interact with the body, using Control+Option+Shift+DownArrow, I can then just arrow down through the text using the arrow keys only. I wonder do you have QuickNav turned on? If so, that could be the problem.
Hope that helps.